It’s No Meat May which means — well, it’s right there in the name, you don’t need us to explain it for you. What it does mean though, is that studies, information, facts and more about vegetarianism and veganism will be coming a-plenty, whether because of the calendar month or by pure coincidence.
We’ve already learnt this month that men would rather shave a decade off of their life, as opposed to just giving up meat. Another thing that’s just been found — that relates to the study just mentioned — is that vegetarians appear to have healthier profiles for disease than meat-eaters.
How does one come to that conclusion? Through a study conducted in the UK that looked at over 166,000 adults in the nation, specifically taking into account their biomarkers. And a biomarker is, according to Lippincott Nursing Center, “a broad range of measures which capture what is happening in a cell or organism at a given moment.” Something like urine analysis, your heart rate, your blood pressure — they’re all examples of biomarkers.
In this case, there were 13 biomarkers where vegetarians performed significantly better than their carnivorous counterparts. This was due to the ‘significantly’ lower levels of biomarkers that actually indicate lower disease risk; these included ones related to cardiovascular disease, liver function, ‘bad’ cholesterol and more.
According to the study’s lead researcher, Dr Carlos Celis-Morales from the University of Glasgow, this research offers “real food for thought.” Expanding on this, he explained, “As well as not eating red and processed meat, which have been linked to heart diseases and some cancers, people who follow a vegetarian diet consume more vegetables, fruits and nuts, which contain more nutrients, fibre and other potentially beneficial compounds.
“These nutritional differences may help explain why vegetarians appear to have lower levels of biomarkers that can lead to cell damage and chronic disease.”
It should be noted that the study also found vegetarian diets to have lower levels of biomarkers linked to health benefits, including calcium, vitamin D, and ‘good’ cholesterol.
So if you’re planning to swap meat for seitan and get your kids on board with plant-based recipes only, slow down a little first. Maybe try the Mediterranean Diet first — and get the relevant vitamins and minerals on the side.